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Interview: LADS

22 min read

Hailing from Germany and South Africa respectively, LADS is an amalgamation of two technical creatives. Luc Angenehm and Deep Suite combine their strengths to bring you a unique trademark sound filled with emotion and variety, underpinned with an unmistakable LADS groove. Conceptualized in 2017, the duo found success in relatively short order, choosing their projects wisely and building a discography with releases via Akbal Music, Lost and Found, Nie Wieder Schlafen and Sound Avenue. This week finds the duo collaborating with Amata for a new single on DJ Zombi's Beat Boutique, we had a chance to catch up with LADS for an exclusive interview leading up to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Guys, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Thank you for having us! We love your platform so we’re grateful to be doing this. We’re happy, busy and productive. The last piece of music we listened to was Eli Nissan’s new EP on Lost & Found, Bedouin’s Cercle set and Guy J’s “Catfish.”

How’s your year been so far? And what are your plans for the coming week?

Productive. We had some hiccups with our DAW at the end of last year that held our output back but all is good and sorted now so we are focussing our attention on brand new LADS music, especially original tracks. The next week is filled with going to the gym, spending time with friends and finishing up tracks that we started over the last couple of months.

How did you come to settle on LADS as an artist name?

LADS is a combination of the initials of our solo projects, Luc Angenehm & Deep Suite.

How did growing up in Germany and South Africa influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

Luc is based in Dusseldorf, Germany and Gary is based in Pretoria, South Africa. Living in Germany makes Luc very technical when it comes to automations and arrangements and living in South Africa makes Gary fill our tracks with groove and soul.

Who from your home country inspired you the most when you first discovered electronic music?

Luc’s home country inspiration when first discovering electronic music was Stimming. He was the reason to start music in the first place. Gary’s home country inspiration at the time was Black Coffee.

What are your favourite venues to play in Germany and why?

We love the festivals in Germany like Moyn Moyn. We love the open air vibe and it suits our style well. Performing at sunset or sunrise amongst the trees and nature with beautiful and happy people is where it’s at.

How did you meet and eventually start collaborating? And were you releasing music in a solo capacity before your partnership?

We both had solo projects prior to our collaboration. In 2017 we decided to combine our strengths into a new project. We actually connected online (no, not Tinder) but on Twitch where Luc streamed a live production session. We connected and started sending our projects to each other until we both teamed up.

A successful partnership is generally based around balance and compromise; how do you manage these things within your production dynamic?

We tend to do whatever we want. Sometimes we combine our strengths on a project and build it together, sometimes each of us just produces from start to finish and we discuss where changes need to be made. This balances our production pretty well. We also learn a lot from each other and use this knowledge in our music. We both share the same taste and so that also makes it pretty easy to work as a team.

Do you have different roles in the production process? And if so elaborate please.

Whilst we are both capable of creating and finishing a track from start to finish, we choose rather to have selected roles. Gary loves to create and do mixdowns, Luc loves to arrange and do automations to create a bit more of an organic feel. However, we’ve given each other free reign to do what we want and this freedom allows us to produce without judgement and maximise our creativity. At the end of the production we’ll both listen closely to the track and note any last changes.

You have a new single ‘Aananda’ out this week in partnership with Amata on DJ Zombi’s Beat Boutique, tell us about the release and please walk us through the production process on the track.

Amata hit us up with an 8 bar loop idea that they made and asked us to collaborate. We both thought it was a great sounding sketch and decided to take the project on. The track focuses heavily on the very hypnotic bass line that plays throughout the track. We wanted to combine it with an interesting layer of elements that don’t take away too much attention from the bass sound. In the second half of the track we added this aztec/snaky kinda vibe to drive the track along. Amata then added the second bass layer that comes in at the latter half of the track. We all listened to the track at the end and made some final changes to the arrangement and voila, “Aananda” was born.

How did this collaboration come about and what made Beat Boutique a good home for the project?

Gary has been friends with Levi (one half of Amata) for the better part of a few years and actually released a LADS track on his label Ambious Records previously. Levi decided to collaborate with another fantastic South African producer, Mike Kelly, to form Amata. We as LADS loved their sound so it felt right to do this. Beat Boutique is the perfect label for this track. The sound fits their catalogue and they have a wonderful lineup of artists on their label already.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of ‘Aananda’?

We always favor analog over digital gear, but often we tend to stay on digital products like Diva or the Native Instruments catalogue due to their easy access. Aananda also relies heavily on digital gear.

Do you find it more difficult to come up with original tracks than remixing a track from another artist?

It depends. We often choose remixes where we already have something in mind for it or can rely on a sound that is included in the original. When creating original music you are not forced to fit the labels sound and are free to experiment with whatever you like. But this freedom can sometimes stop you from finishing a track. So both original and remixes can be equally easy or difficult to make.

What’s the task you enjoy the most when producing and what is something you’d rather have taken care of by somebody else?

We both have different things we enjoy and dislike while making music. Luc loves to create arrangements and be selective on automations while Gary always wants to have the best sound possible and creates a lot of loops. When it comes to negative aspects we complement each other well. Luc dislikes sound selection and mixing. Gary dislikes arrangement.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

We both dream of a Sequential Prophet 6. You can’t go wrong with that gear. Oh, and a personal masseuse to keep your shoulders loose while working haha!

How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

We usually stick to our gut feeling. Sometimes when we want to be 100% sure and make sure we haven’t lost it completely we send it to Gary’s brother for feedback and also Stephan from Afterwork Sounds (Label/Mastering) for a test master.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Oh wow… That’s a tough and interesting question but for this sake of this we’ll have a healthy balance of our favourite artists and friends.

- Wild Dark
- Nhii
- Be Svendsen
- Siavash
- Guy J
In that order.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and what made you do it?

Gary rode on the roof of a car once by holding only onto the 2 side windows. Going at 100km/h hanging on for dear life is definitely not the smartest idea. Luc will keep his answer a secret for next time ;)

 What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

Luc really enjoyed the Joker released in 2019. It was a very impactful film and probably made our music more melancholic haha. Gary enjoys dark and dystopian psychological series like Mr Robot, Black Mirror and Mindhunter.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Our Pets like Luc’s dog Siri and Gary’s cat Weasley. Our friends. Our families. Entrepreneurship. Gym. Gaming.

What does the remainder of 2022 hold for you guys? Anything you can share with us?

We just finished a fantastic 4 track EP with Traumhouse that is currently in search of a new home. We’re also working on new material for You Plus One and Lost & Found. Some LADS NFT stuff. Merchandise. And a few other awesome stuff that we can’t reveal just yet. This year is going to be exciting!

'Aananda' is available now via DJ Zombi's Beat Boutique: https://bit.ly/36IDFDl

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